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Venture funded cannabis startup targeting baby boomers and seniors

User Experience Design
User Research
Is Not Boring Inc / Octavia Wellness
(Acquired by Caliva)
In 2015 myself and three partners launched a medical cannabis startup. Our initial concept was to build the "Mary Kay of Cannabis" -following a network marketing model where individuals could teach their friends about the products available and earn a commission on sales. In our first year we raised $500k and were part of the inaugural class at the Gateway accelerator.
As one of four co-founders I wore a lot of hats but was primarily responsible for user research, service design and user experience design. At the start of our journey, we felt there was an opportunity to serve people who were new to the medical cannabis market, specifically those looking for more of a wellness focused experience and seeking more guidance on what products to try. When our delivery service went live and we started meeting real customers, it became clear there was a significant opportunity serving boomers and seniors, so we quickly pivoted towards that market, ultimately merging with another company that had been focused on the seniors market (Octavia Wellness). In 2019 Octavia Wellness was acquired by Caliva. You can read more about us in the New York Times, Business Insider, and Senior Housing News.
A commission system built into the purchasing experience allowed people to capture and track their earnings.
Our mobile-first web application was built on top of the Material Design framework. In addition to providing a traditional e-commerce experience, the app had to meet a number of unique requirements. We had to enable users to upload their medical cannabis doctor's recommendation and their California ID, then we needed to verify those documents before we could sell them anything. We had to filter users by zipcode, to ensure we didn't run afoul of local regulations.
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